Riot Games has created another position and promoted Global Head of Esports John Needham to the new role of president of esports.
This is yet another another in a string of recent promotions as the company moves towards a more centralized esports division. Naz Aletaha was recently promoted to global head of League of Legends esports while Leo Faria and Whalen Rozelle were also recently promoted to head of Wild Rift and VALORANT esports, respectively.
The position will see Needham lead Riot’s esports division from a higher position and put him in charge of its various titles, as well as those newly appointed under him. He also served as the global head of esports at Riot starting in 2020. Needham joined the company in 2017 and has held other positions of leadership including managing director of Europe and head of the League of Legends European Championship. Before Riot Games, he worked at Microsoft in their game development division and was the CEO of Cryptic Studios and Gazillion Entertainment.
In this new position, Needham will oversee a new team called Organized Play, which encapsulates other and future Riot titles like Teamfight Tactics. The games do not have the reach or structure of Riot’s main titles but they will get the same amount of attention under the general Organized Play banner.
This new role for Needham also puts him at one of the highest positions in the company, alongside other department presidents like Global Head of Entertainment Shauna Spenley and President of Games Scott Gelb. Needham will also directly report to Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent.
“Riot Games has led the explosive growth of esports over the past decade, and I’m proud to be part of the team charged with establishing our portfolio as a foundation for the future of sports,” Needham said in a press release published by Dot Esports. “Esports embodies Riot’s mission to inspire the most meaningful and lasting player experiences.”